When asked the question is Al Jazeera a counter to Western media imperialism or a mirror version of Fox New style propaganda, there are many issues that are immediately raised such as what is valued as global and local, what comes down to as a choice versus culture and what type of role the media plays in controlling out day to day lives and thoughts.
In order to decipher what side of the fence you stand on when it comes to these opposing issues with Al Jazeera being viewed as a biased and opinionated broadcasting company or simply a voice for the oppressed?
El Nawawy and Iskander (2003) believe that when it comes to depicted Al Jazeera as bias ‘many Westerners have accused Al Jazeera of being biased toward the Palestinian cause’ and that Al Jazeera has a practice of describing Palestinian suicide bombers who strike in Israel as “martyrs”. With this in mind, audiences are going to view Al Jazeera as a localized broadcasting company rather than global and reflecting some kind of propaganda, advertising these events in order to gain support and recognition. But isn’t that the same way of viewing other broadcasting companies such as Fox News? Both influenced by gatekeepers and media watchdogs, Al Jazeera and Fox News ultimately reflect one another’s intentions and way of broadcasting news. Both want to be honest and balanced, but at what price?
This is where things become complicated. Both companies are striving to portray themselves as accurate representations of their nations and both are aiming at being ethically balanced and culturally aware. El Naway and Iskander (2003) state that ‘many Arab viewers who watch CNN believe that American television is biased against Arabs’ and that. A circle of arguments begin.. But if you dive in further, Fox News possess flaws in their broadcasting
With the Afghanistan and Iraq war, America’s broadcasting could be seen as objective and highly critical of countries around them, censoring what is really going on whereas Al Jazeera are depicting a true reflection of events. It all comes down to the issue of globalization. With Al Jazeera showing the devastating effects of war, Fox News are desperate to cover it up based upon commercialism and ratings. Therefore it could be argued that America, in a way, are not contributing to the process of globalization.
And the cycle of arguments circulates again…
El-Nawawy, M. 2003, ‘The battle for the Arab mind’, Al-Jazeera, the story of the network that is rattling governments and redefining modern journalism 2003, Westview Press, Boulder CO, pp. 45-69, 217-218